Country Corner - A fleeting encounter with a true supermodel

The elusive Canary Shouldered Thorn moth
The elusive Canary Shouldered Thorn moth

Flick through any illustrated field guide, be the subject birds, mammals, wildflowers or insects, certain star species will jump out at you, writes George Hogg (Hogg Estate Services).

I suppose you could say they they are the one with X factor!

Often it is simply because they are the most colourful of all those pictured.

Among moths, the Canary Shouldered Thorn is certainly one of those species.

Despite it being reputedly common, I had never seen one until recently.

However, there is a tunnel I often check for roosting moths by day.

It has introduced me to many moth species over the last couple of years.

One of the most recent was this exquisite specimen, as yellow as the brightest canary for sure.

I recognised it instantly despite it being a first for me, so long had I look forward to this meeting.

What made the find especially sweet was the late date and the autumn scarcity of moths.

Moths in 2017 have had a tough time since a weather change in late June which saw their fortunes plummet in the second half of their season.

So, just when it seemed too late, it was great to find such a supermodel of the moth world.

There is also a rule of thumb that the nearer the tropics you go, the more colourful species become.

Here in the cool wet northern latitudes we are not used to such splendour.

We even describe these stars as ‘tropical looking’.

It all adds to the excitement of such meetings.

Of course, each time it happens, there is one less star of the field guides to be lusted after.

Fear not. Nature has a way of rationing such findings to one or two a year.

This keeps anticipation high, you never know what the next one will be.